Disclaimer: This review is from a review copy of the game that was provided by Restoration Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game.
Game: Dinosaur Tea Party
Publisher: Restoration Games
Design: Rob Daviau, Justin D. Jacobson
Art: Matijos Gebreselassie, Jason Taylor
Mechanisms: Memory, Pattern recognition
Number of Players: 3 – 5
Game Time: 15 – 30 minutes
Description: It’s the fanciest social event, everyone’s all dressed up in their finest, but you’ve forgotten everyone’s name! Use careful questions to deduce the identity of the other players, and score points (in the form of sugar cubes) when you guess correctly. First player to acquire 3 sugar cubes wins!
The game begins with players setting out the dinosaur tiles face-up on the table, then shuffling the dinosaur cards and revealing 3 of them to assign the quirks to. Each player then receives a set of trait tokens and a random dinosaur card (after the 3 revealed cards are shuffled back in). This is their hidden identity. The youngest player begins play.
On a player’s turn, they can either Inquire about a guest, or Guess a guest’s name. To Inquire, simply ask another player if they have a certain trait (such as wearing a hat, having a pet, or being in a purple room). The player then answers and places the matching trait in front of them either on the yes or no side. If they answered yes, the turn player gets to go again! To Guess, ask a player if they are a certain dinosaur. If you guessed correctly, take a sugar cube and the other player discards their card, flips the matching tile face-down, resets their trait tiles, and draws a new dinosaur card. Whether or not you guess correctly, your turn is over afterwards.
3 of the dinosaurs have quirks, such as always lying. These can throw a wrench into the deductions as the players who get those dinosaurs as their secret identity must adhere to the rules of the quirk. Make sure to keep them in mind!
Review: Can I just gush about the art on this game? The fact of the matter is, Dinosaur Tea Party is just delightfully silly. It’s so cute, and I want to be friends with all of the dinosaurs that are at the tea party. Bright colors, easy to see cards, and fun art.
The entire production is delightful, too! The dinosaur tea pot on the cover, the invitation on the rule book, the sugar cubes, and the doily inside of the box are just a few of the things that help to really drive home the “tea party” feel.
One of the biggest problems with Guess Who style games is that you can, inadvertently or deliberately, become really judgmental in your questions. I remember hearing a story once about asking “does this person go biking?” with the assumption that they were asking about their size. Not cool.
But, Dinosaur Tea Party has taken that wonderful deduction element and made it so that you don’t have to be a total jerk about it. You can’t insult a posh dinosaur! Plus, it guides you toward what you want to ask with all of the different trait tokens that are available for you to show off.
The little twists on the game (one dino always says no, one always lies, one always switches answers) make it even more of a puzzle to try and sort out. I would love to see some sort of mini-expansion here that provides other options like this that you can trade in and out.
Dinosaur Tea Party is a delightful game, filled with lots of laughs. It’s enough of a puzzle to be appealing to gamers, but the premise is basic enough that anyone can learn how to play it.
Try, Buy, Deny: Do you like deduction games? Do you want to be silly? And do you enjoy pretending that you’re a posh British dinosaur who enjoys tea and crumpets? Did you enjoy Guess Who? as a kid? Then you definitely want to buy Dinosaur Tea Party! It’s fun, it’s cute, and it’s fabulous.